DNA vs Identity Part 4

This year has really made me understand why so many people have used some form of the quote below. It is also no wonder that I could not determine the original quote. I can only imagine that it came from long ago. This exact version of it came from Thomas S. Monson.

“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”

Entering into the many forums regarding DNA surprises opened a new reality for me. The many parallel yet different stories have caused me to adjust my sails, emotionally speaking. It is astonishing how many people are experiencing this in growing numbers! The one thing that rings true among the majority of us with parental surprises, is that we don’t really like to hear that ‘nothing has changed’. We know that it truly “hasn’t” in some aspects, but internally things have definitely changed. Many, like me, who have had a DNA surprise are now questioning our identity. Most of us know that our parents, as we understood them to be, loved us. We know that our family loves us. But for some that is not the case. Many people are experiencing heartache upon heartache. Some are being told not to ever contact them again or being told not to tell certain people. They are now a “secret”. Some are learning that the one they searched for has passed away. The new families are not all awarding a warm reception or an ounce of acceptance. I am so grateful that my newly found sister wanted to meet and wants to be family. Seeing the stories, which are confidential, I began to feel some closure and healing in my new reality. The stories I have read have also shaped my perspective in a healthy way. Peace has encompassed me even though I will not find any answers. I cannot presume to know how my parents would have reacted. To do that would only put unnecessary worry upon myself. I don’t have to doubt whether either of them loved me unlike some are having to do. However, I will say that the year my mother died was the last year that I truly felt secure. This speaks volumes to me now. My dad loved me, but I did not always feel secure. The only security some people ever have is in knowing WHO they are. Now many are struggling with that very crisis due to DNA results and familial reactions. Even if you do not like, love, or respect your parents, the foundation of your identity began with the names on the birth certificate.

We have had our laughs watching shows which reveal the father. The scene is usually disturbing and chaotic leading us to wonder why anyone would put themselves in such a public position. Now…now, I can understand the innate desire to know, truly know who your father is at all cost. After all, it is the foundation of our identity, right? Until one has been in this situation, it is extremely difficult to have true empathy or even words to say. I have a couple of friends who ask me how I am doing but most just go on like nothing has changed. AND…it hasn’t…or has it? Some days I feel like nothing has changed, then the wave of grief hits me. I will go quickly to the mirror and study my face again. Then I look into the mirror and ask myself, “Who am I?” once again. This struggle is exactly what is happening as my father’s birthday approaches. It feels different internally.

On April 28th, 1942 when Johnny Charles Bone was born. He was a mess but he was a good man. His lifelong best friend, Brenda, has told me many stories. She also opened for Willie Nelson and got to hold his guitar. (I know that doesn’t apply here but it’s pretty darn cool!) Her son, David, even wrote a song about my dad. He tried to sing it for me once when he was performing at the Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook Off. He cried, I cried, my friend cried. I am still waiting for the day to hear the whole song. He loved my dad too. He was Uncle Chico to a lot of people, blood or not. He will always be my dad, blood or not. He was immediately exposed to chicken pox the day he was born and nearly died. My grandfather ran over him with a jeep in the sand. He went to the hospital and was ultimately ok. I think he was 3 or 4 when that happened. My grandmother was a wreck, I am told. He was her youngest, hence the name “Chico”. The closer I get to his birthday the more stories, memories, and emotions slip into my mind. It feels like it is time to once again adjust my sails.

I am finding it difficult to think of how to honor him on his day in light of the news. I am supposed to on a sailboat in the US Virgin Islands on his birthday. Two of my best girlfriends will be there too. One of them shares his birthday, and this touches my heart deeply. We will all know the certainty of this trip in 2 days. I have looked forward to being out on the water on April 28th since last April 28th. This trip has been rescheduled 3 times. (I really hope it happens.) The last 12 months have truly brought home the need to “adjust the sails”. It feels as if I am adjusting my emotional sails daily. So, how appropriate will it be to be on a sailboat while reminiscing and spending some quiet moments with my Heavenly Father? I can feel it in my bones and I am longing to be there. The saltwater has always helped me gain perspective and work through difficult thoughts. The peace the ocean brings, especially to this water loving believer, is difficult to duplicate elsewhere. The waters of the Caribbean have long been my happy place. Even now, I close my eyes and picture myself there. I am ready to literally adjust my sails and feel the ocean spray wash over me.

One of my favorite shirts has this: Saltwater Heals Everything. For me this is true!

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Abiding Still, Rachele

DNA vs Identity Part 3

Ungraceful. Inelegant. Clumsy. Carelessly…

Yes, that is exactly how I have felt about my behavior since January. Life has thrown some crazy stuff at me lately. The gamete stretches from good to stressful at warped speed. What is the good, you ask? I am so glad you asked! I am engaged to a man that is far beyond the man of my dreams. I have never met someone who has endured this level of difficulty in such a short amount of time! To call my fiancé a ‘gem’ would be a mammoth understatement. I don’t think the rest of our lives will be long enough to properly express my gratitude. What I do know is that he is God’s gift designed just for me. He unknowingly stepped into the chaos of my life (some of which I was unaware myself). I promise to fill you in. The stressful points are common to some and uncommon to most.

I must admit that this journey had me questioning my sanity at times. Once I realized that the results were real on Ancestry, my perspective changed. Words really cannot describe how this news makes one feel. I questioned everything about my past for a brief period. But then again, there are times we simply must ask ourselves some tough questions. It was time to make sure my plumb line was correct for my own emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The following are some of the questions I have asked myself:

  1. What is DNA vs Identity?
  2. Who do I think I am?
  3. Who does God say I am?
  4. How do I know God is present in this chaos?

1. DNA vs Identity

We spend our early lives identifying who we are based upon who are parents are. Once we have reached elementary school age, our identity is influenced through friends and teachers. A child will notice invitations to birthday parties and sleepovers to determine how they fit. Receiving a birthday invitation validates our existence, this carries into junior high and high school as well. The crowd we run with not only affects how you see yourself but also how others, namely adults, see you. We look into the mirror to determine our self worth based upon current societal standards. During this time in our lives, we forget or never learn to look inward and truly know who we are. It is in our DNA and the behaviors which surround us. Some families truly celebrate their heritage while others celebrate culture, religion, and status quo. This still will never determine who we are. DNA tells us where we came from and possible inherited traits, behaviors, and health. DNA does not determine the value of self. What I have observed over the last few months in that more and more people are determining their worth on the DNA results. It is serving as confirmation for some and deep heartache for others. The shock that comes from an unexpected result is very real and very deep. And once again, we are looking in the mirror wondering exactly who we are.

2. Who Am I?

In part 2 of my journey, I mentioned that I would stare into the mirror and wonder where my traits originated. But God had other plans as to how I should look into the mirror. In 1977, at the tender age of 5, I accepted Christ as my Savior. My Memaw, my mom’s mother, would take me to church with her when I would stay the weekend and that is how I came to know the Lord. Discipleship did not enter my life until adulthood; however, I always knew that He was with me. After my mother passed away in 1983, I felt lost all over again but I knew He was still with me. The thought that ran through my head was, “Who am I without my mom?” I was only 11 years old and had all of the toughest parts of being a girl ahead of me. She had the foresight to tell me all sorts of things about life, for which I am forever grateful. It was HIM, because He was with me. My father had the biggest part in teaching me to love, forgive, and treat others better than I wanted to be treated. Although he never attended church or read his Bible, he was actually teaching me as the Lord Himself would.

He taught me to be kind, treat others with kindness and grace, and that I was to never think of myself as better than anyone else. To him, it was the golden Rule, but in the end I have always known it was my Heavenly Father speaking through him. My dad always pushed me to do better as well. He would be so disappointed when I would have a grade less than 85% for the six weeks or on a test. And yes, I would be grounded until the next report card. And yes, he would often let me off early. Being an only child had its advantages in that regard. He would ground me, yet we would still go to the movies. He was a softy in a hard crabby shell. He told me I was smart, capable, beautiful, and creative. He told me he loved me and other than my rebellious years, I always believed him. He passed away in 1997 when I was 24. That was likely harder on me than my mom. She had been suffering; his was sudden. It seemed unfair. It was then that God first told me that I am not an orphan. In fact, the Lord began to teach me that I was HIS child. At that point in my life, I began to get a glimpse of who I am.

3. Who Does God Say I Am?

  • He says I am NEW! All of the old me has passed away and HE has made me NEW! 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • He says I am reconciled! 2 Corinthians 5:18
  • He says I am a Princess! Psalm 45:13
  • He says I am an heir! Romans 8:17
  • He says I am accepted! Romans 15:7
  • He says I am a temple! 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • He says I am loved! John 3:16
  • He says I am free! Romans 8:2
  • He says I am redeemed! Romans 3:34
  • He says I am a branch! John 15:1, 5
  • He says I am a friend! John 15:15
  • HE SAYS I AM HIS CHILD!!! John 1:12

He calls us His own. He loves us. Why should I be lost in any conclusion about myself other than HIS? I am sacrificially loved by my Heavenly Father! It is not about WHO we are in the end; it is about WHOSE we are!

4. How Do I Know God is Present!

God being present is where we often struggle. This is also where it is difficult to convince a non-Christian of His existence. But if you have faith you can sense the things unseen and feel the things that are not tangible. God has been with me throughout my life. He was there when He called me to his own. He was there when He called my parents to their heavenly home. HE IS HERE!

I know God is present when I am at my weakest. His words have filled my heart when sorrow cast its shadow upon my soul. He was present when my car would not move at the green light and the 18 wheeler plowed through their red light at an obnoxious speed. He was there during every gift and every heartache this life has thrown my way. I could list so many different times that He revealed Himself to me, but I will conclude with the present experience.

I know God IS present while I process the DNA results of fatherhood. He IS present because HE was already here with me. Since the early 2000’s I have studied the different names of the Lord. It was this meditation which helped me to accept this new reality: Johnny “Chico” was not my biological father. It is as strange to type as it is to hear. A man named James “Jimmy” was actually the one who took part in my conception. Since both fathers are no longer living, God has made His presence real and upfront for me. Whether it was something a friend said or sent, or something I read at the right moment, He was here and holding me. When ever I would pray about how this could possibly be for my good, I would be reminded that He brings beauty from ashes. When the sobbing would ensue, I could feel His indescribable peace wash over me.

I now feel total peace over these results, but I know there will still be moments when the shock wave will rollover my heart again. I have so much to look forward to in getting to know my sister and all the blessings that will bring to both of our lives. At least now when I look into the mirror I know where I received my physical attributes. Finally, I know that WHO I am isn’t really the relevant question any longer. It’s WHOSE I am, that brings me the peace which surpasses all understanding.

Abiding Still, Rachele


Short recap from Part 1: I am an NPE offspring! (Not Parent Expected). December 2020 left my hindsight completely blurry with questions of paternity for myself. My life flashed before my eyes and I no longer recognized the woman looking at me from the mirror. WHO WAS SHE? Better yet, WHO fathered me? Where do I turn? My constant thought…”I need to find a counselor soon and fast!”

Mid-laughter poses are the best!

My 2021 journey began with shock and I wasn’t sure when it would stop. January through March is all but a complete blur with a tunnel of fuzzy memories and strange names on my AncestryDNA matches. I thought I might lose my mind! I still see my maiden name on the list but only through distant relatives, no first cousins! There were so many different names I had never heard of or seen. There have been plenty of trees and I had done my research! I had to walk away or I would retreat and crumble… But GOD… He stepped in and slowly the fog began to lift as the connections became clearer. I found the support groups previously mentioned and connected with my closest relative…A SISTER!

Saturday, April 10th, I met my sister, Ronda! This last weekend was wonderful! It was a terrific first meeting and I cannot wait for the next one!! It was so surreal to look into another person’s face and see glimpses of myself. We looked through some pictures on her phone, talked about ourselves, and really truly connected. The similarities were striking! My fiancé noticed that our reactions were the same to hilarious moments. We tilt our head the same in pictures and squint our eyes tightly when cracking up with laughter. Yep! We were definitely sisters! God is good! I love her already!!

As a child, I would study my reflection in the mirror to distinguish any resemblance to my daddy. I saw his nose, face shape, and eye shape and think “oh there it is”. I had fuller lips than my mom those must be his, but I had her smile. Being an only child, I had a lot of time on my hands. My entire life has been one conversation regarding my mom…”You look just like your mom!” To be honest, I do see it but not to the degree everyone else did or does. The shape of her face and eyes did not match up in my mind. I do bear a strong resemblance to her no doubt about it. There was just something missing in my reflection. My blood type and recessive traits all lined up for the possibility of me as offspring from my parents. Now that I reflect upon my childhood, it is evident that I had doubts regarding my father. It wasn’t something I had even truly recognized until this exact week in my life. The fact that I was always searching and comparing myself to him was obviously a subconscious desire for confirmation and consolation. Yet, he WAS my DADDY and still IS. He understood me and I understood him, even when we did not see eye to eye. I had honest and poignant conversations with him and I miss him all the time. On April 28th of this year he would have turned 79 years old. My heart remains heavy and empty regarding him. A cousin told me today that she thinks he knew. How incredible is that?! My parents had a tumultuous relationship. They loved each other deeply but they were both careless with one another’s heart. The Lord was not the center of their relationship and I came along after they had already been married for 10 years. A child brought a lot of changes to their lives. Apparently, too many things remained unchanged. They were officially married for only 17 years.

Now that I reflect upon my childhood it is evident that I had doubts regarding my father.


As women we are told that the mirror doesn’t lie. But what exactly was my mirror trying to tell me? That had been my life long thorn I suppose. Looking into the mirror and just not seeing the whole image would often leave me wondering. Where did I get that strange lifted right eyebrow? Why was I able to draw out of nowhere? The endless stories I could create by merely having something capture my attention…where did this all come from? The fact that I did not have learn something to ace a test on the subject left me curious. But the most puzzling thing remained, that woman staring back at me. Who was she? Then fast forward to 2021 and the new paternal revelation…

Mirror Mirror on the wall, i see my reflection after all!

I already see the blessing that is Ronda! She is a fabulous woman and already feels like family to me! I absolutely cannot wait to get to know her more! We get to spend time together and do silly things we would have done as teens. We also have the opportunity ahead of us to explore the world and see exactly how our Heavenly Father drew us together. We are a living testimony of how beauty comes from ashes!

Until then, I will be abiding still in His infinite love and the blessings of sisterhood!



NPE = Not Parent Expected

2021 began with big discovery for me and it has taken me some time to truly digest and understand it. For Christmas, I bought my fiancé and I the AncestryDNA kits. I sent mine in quickly because I was not going to wrap mine. The results came in at the end of December. After briefly glancing at it I realized that I did not have time to walk through it, so I waited. We moved in January and it was then that I started looking into the matches. There were so many matches a few of which I recognized. So I thought to myself, “Ok, this is real because I am matching with my cousin Michael.” Then I noticed a “close family” match, which began my investigation into my DNA matches.

I spent most of my nights awake for hours trying to make sense of this “evidence”. Prior to the AncestryDNA test, I took the CRIGenetics DNA test. That test came back 40% German, which was no surprise to me. However, AncestryDNA says that I am only 3% German but more English and Scottish. I am still trying to decipher that information. As each night would linger on I would look up resources and charts for interpreting DNA results. There are charts available that show the possible relations with your matches based upon Centimorgans (CMs). Facebook also offers many groups for support and sharing when there is a DNA surprise. Most of the sites I found were due to searching for DNA counseling and assistance to make sense of it all. I think I had discovered that I might belong to a new group of people, The NPE’s.

Centimorgans is what experts use to describe how much DNA and the length of specific segments of DNA you share with your relatives. These shared segments are divided up into centimorgans. The more centimorgans you share with someone, the more closely you are related.

A “close relative” match of 1859 CMs would be either of the following: Grandparent, Aunt/Uncle, Niece/Nephew, Grandchild, or Half Sibling. So at this point, I went through each possibility and looked Shane in the eyes and said, “This lady is my half sister!!! There is no other possible option! I am going to reach out to her and ask her how she thinks we are connected.” With his full support, I messaged her and was met with shock on my part. SHE had been looking for ME!! Wait! What?!? Apparently, Bio-Dad knew I existed. Since all parties involved in my birth and rearing have passed away, I will never have full answers. I am ok with that! This discovery was not something I was expecting at all. There was no doubt in my mind about my father. Commencing forth was the shock and shut down of my world. I did not know how to understand or accept this. It was just more than my brain could handle.

Chico is Not the Father?

After a few messages with her, we became friends on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers. Then I just had to find more pictures! She texted some pictures and I had grabbed a couple of the Ancestry Tree of bio-dad. So I decided to make some comparisons of the images to help my overloaded brain and heart. Let me tell you that as soon as I compared him to my son I was DONE! This man was definitely my biological father, no more doubts!

Biological Father: Jimmy vs My Son! This is the image that got me!


Entering into the scene that is now my life are some wonderful people from supportive Facebook groups! DNA Surprise Support Group, DNA NPE Friends, NPE Only: After the Discovery, and last but definitely not least DNAngels Client Group. I had an interview with DNAngels and they accepted me as a client. The lady that took my case was extremely thorough and did confirm that James Hardman was my biological Father. I was also able to ask her about connecting with others through my expected father…my maiden name is linked to my mother’s side of the family! Then I discovered that my first love is my cousin!! We had reunited and it did not pan out, now I am glad. THAT IS JUST WEIRD!! This story just keeps adding twists and turns. (I hope they are all done now!)

My Son vs Jimmy (BF) Their beards even grow the exact same way!

As you can see, I am convinced that this man was with my mother. Part of me is glad I do not have to face either of my parents with this new reality. They loved me and I loved them! They can rest in Heaven and I have a new sister! She and I have contact when we can. My Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways for sure. My half sister actually lives near my future mother in law! We are going to meet in person this Saturday. There is probably still more to this story and I will update after we meet!

Where am I? Or as Shane will ask me, “How is your heart today?” I am doing OK! This all brought me back to my one TRUE FATHER, ABBA, DADDY, The MOST SOVEREIGN FATHER OF ALL! My parents shaped me and did an overall wonderful job with me through many trials and illnesses. My mother died when I was 11 and my father when I was 24. My new half sister told me that Jimmy passed away in 2009. We will not be getting any explanations or answers. So, where do you go when you don’t know what is next and your mind is a mess? I go to the ROCK, My Father in Heaven. I have studied His names for years upon years. All of that time studying about God being our Father has truly helped me through this situation. HE knew then what I know now! HE carefully prepared me to absorb this shock and welcome this wonderful lady into my life. She even told me that Grandmother Hardman would be so pleased and is likely telling everyone in Heaven that we finally met!


I could be mad. I was.

I could be sad. I was.

I could be hurt. I was.

I could be confused. I was.

I could be shaken. I was.

Or I could have faith. I DO!

Because, I am a daughter of the KING! I am HIS and HE is mine! I don’t have to question my identity, ethnicity, or even my earthly father! I put my trust in the Heavenly Father who tended to my heart before I even knew I needed it!

Abiding Still,


Resurrection Moments

I have been really struggling with where to begin on this blog. Once upon a time, I had a few which I managed to keep updated. There is no lack of ideas, which is exactly the issue…too many ideas are hitting me at once. Not knowing where to begin, I decided to wait. I felt taunted by the blank screen because my longing to write returned with a gusto I have not known before now. So, I waited. It is true that Jesus will meet you in the ‘waiting’.

(I am posting this with no other eyes to edit but mine. Please know it has been a long time and it might be a little rough and written as if I am speaking to you instead. I pray my story (stories) speak to someone and point them to our Father.)

Yesterday was the first Easter spent with my fiancé. It was a glorious day!! We attended a different church than the one we had been visiting. We both felt the connection! It felt so good to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a deep way again.

I have been prone to wander my entire life and the last ten years have perfected it. During this time, I kept praying that the Lord would bring a man into my life that loves HIM first, then me. A man that would lead and live in a way that I would not be able to help but follow. Most importantly, I wanted a man who would help lead me back from my wandering ways. Then God sent me Shane….I digress. This post is about an “Easter Moment” a “Resurrection Power Moment” the ones that happen often in our lives after our initial salvation experience. The moment when Christ reminds you that you are HIS, HE calls you HIS own! Once that happens, you feel new life and momentum again through confidence of identity in HIM.

Every single one of us has experienced times of struggle in any given area including our walk of faith. HE has called each of us by name and given us a purpose. I lost mine somewhere in my wanderings. Things would often occur which would remind me of my calling and purpose, but my path was filled with too many distractions. Skipping down my happily down my own Avoidance Lane was fun for a while, but I have grown weary. I was almost too weak to step back onto HIS path. Weaknesses which were drilled deep from sin and shame, hurt and blame, habits and hang-ups kept me from doing what I knew to do. You get the picture…I had become the prodigal daughter. How could I make it back home?

“Oh, Purpose, Purpose! Where for art thou purpose? If I would give it any other name, I would have to deny my Father.”

My friends had begun sharing personal journeys with me and how they felt the desire to open their Bibles, pray, study, and go to church. Still happily skipping along Avoidance Lane, I would faintly hear His voice calling me back. He called me to begin with prayer, pure one on one fellowship. As prayer began to be a priority, I started getting reminders of my purpose. This was all well and good, but I still felt all the above and now extra guilt because like Paul, “I know the things I SHOULD do, yet I don’t; I know the things I SHOULD NOT do; yet I do!” This is my confession relating to Paul’s as written in Romans 7:13-25. I really do know what I am supposed to be doing! Yesterday, I was convicted of allowing my stumbles to keep me from my calling. I quickly realized that pride was keeping me in the continual loop of failure. (PRIDE! such a nasty word) It was a perpetual cycle of self castigation instead of allowing the resurrection power to restore me. I suppose I would rather beat myself up instead of allowing HIM to heal me!

Sometimes I still feel like He could not possibly use me (again) for the purpose He called me to. As my Father would often do, He keeps pulling me to Him. Through friends and my fiancé, He was able to get me to assemble with other believers. We tried one church and we both love the pastor and the people but just did not feel it as our church home. As Shane worked through leaving a church he attended for years so that we could find one together, he mentioned going to a friends church. Shane played some online sermons and stories for me. Not only did I like this pastor’s style, he was saying what I really needed to hear. Yesterday was the first day we attended that church. The Holy Spirit was speaking to me and over me the entire service. It was refreshing and moving which filled the longing within me.

The pastor shared a very personal message about a time in his life where a church had turned on him. The details are his but the story was similar. Fear has kept me from finding a church home until now. His testimony spoke all over me as if the Holy Spirit had delivered it Himself. No doubts about it, the message was for me yesterday. It is all I can think about! To see this man lead a church again where they love on his vulnerabilities and humanness is pure encouragement. He called this an Easter Moment, where God reminded him of WHO HE is in Christ! A resurrection moment where He called him by name and reminded him of his purpose.

My Easter (Resurrection) Moment is this: HE keeps reminding me that HE can indeed still use me. HE is the one who called me. It is fear, not faith, keeping me from this purpose. If the pastor can have another church, then I can serve again too. He equips the called instead of calling the equipped. It is by HIS power alone can my call to women’s ministry ever happen. It never was and certainly never will be by my power alone.

YES! Lord, YES. I will serve YOU!

Abiding Still,